Cristina Rathbone discusses Risking Hope, which explores every facet of prison culture and reveals the true face of the American criminal justice system.
Rathbone spent five years visiting women prisoners at MCI Framingham, outside of Boston. Risking Hope provides a firsthand look at prison and the women that Rathbone came to know there, and shows why prison officials are so eager to keep journalists out. The book also describes the author's long legal struggle to gain access to the women inside. It took Rathbone a full year and two law suits against the Massachusetts Department of Corrections to win access to the women and hear their stories.
Women are the fastest-growing population incarcerated in the United States; over 950,000 women are currently under some form of correctional supervision. Putting a human face to the statistics, Rathbone examines the devastating consequences of mandatory minimum sentencing laws, the use of male guards for women prisoners, substandard medical care that leads to high rates of suicide, and the drastic effects skyrocketing incarceration rates have on millions of families across the country.